Researchers have been using laser pulses to directly modify the amount of the interaction among the atoms to increase the exchange energy without necessarily altering the magnetic structure of the material.
Remarkably, this happens in a time interval well below the nanosecond, as the material response is almost entirely exhausted within the duration of the laser pulse, less than 100 femtoseconds in the experiment (1 femtosecond is one millionth of one billionth of a second ).
At the moment it’s all very theoretical, a “proof of principle” obtained in a lab, making use of expensive and relatively bulky lasers, but if the past is any indication, miniaturization will follow and these kind of applications will sooner or later find their way to the market, as it has already happened with the ultra-compact lasers with which we now read DVDs.
This demonstrates a new route to circumvent the hindrances of the current magnetic storage technology, to reach writing and reading speeds up to ten thousand times faster than those currently available.
The work was performed at Rome’s La Sapienza University – in collaboration with the Polytechnic of Milan and the Radbound University of Nijmegen. La Sapienza’s Tullio Scopigno coordinated the research.
SOURCE - Forbes